After a seven year hiatus, the Samoa National Football Cup is back, with five teams across 30 clubs competing for the top prize.
The five teams are from five geographical zones, four in Upolu and one from Savaii.
Samoa Football Federation, with financial support from FIFA Forward set up the competition to reinvigorate the sports presence here.
“One of the main objectives is to identify elite players for our training squad’s national teams, not only for the Oceania competitions but also for the Pacific Games,” said SFF president Reverend Laupama Solomona.
Without a national tournament, finding talent for international tournaments can be a challenge, he said.
When there aren’t enough players here in Samoa, the Football Federation looks to players living abroad like in Australia and New Zealand, who often choose other countries to play for because of the money.
“We’re doing our best to up our standards though so that we can persuade those players to play for us,” Mr Solomona said.
Furthermore, the tournament is a chance to pick out umpires, coaches and managers with the skills and knowledge to take the national team forward.
The national tournament was finally able to go ahead thanks to a generous grant by FIFA Forward, a development program aimed at supporting member associations through investment and oversight.
Not only did they sponsor the running of the cup but also new uniforms for the five teams, and $2000 tala per team for training purposes, which went towards new equipment.
The managers for the teams were selected for their skills not only in football but also in reporting.
With a grant from FIFA, Reverend Solomona knows how seriously the clubs have to take their financial reports.
“The important task given to us now is the reporting on how the money has been used, and that is where the future of this competition lies,” he said.
“If we do the reporting clearly, transparently, showing where all the money has gone, it will be simple to keep applying.”
FFS depends on the managers of the teams in the competition to have kept accurate spending records in the lead up to the football cup.
“That is also one way we can pick managers, the people who know how to do the reporting side and manage everything.”
Mr Solomona said that they trust those managers to do the work but the federation can also help prepare the reports, so that they are up to standard.
“For any grant or any assistance from which ever, reporting is very important in terms of sports,” he said.
Games continue until next Saturday at the football field at Tuanaimato.